Councilwoman Sonja Reece (left) looks on as Councilman Adam Nielsen (right) gives his farewell remarks Monday night. (Stephanie Pawlowski/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
NORMAL - With a standing ovation, Normal Councilman Adam Nielsen choked back some tears as he said farewell Monday night.
"I've learned something from each and every one of you," Nielsen told the council. "I learned something from (former Councilmen) Parker Lawlis, Garrett Scott and (former Mayor) Kent Karraker. It's tough to say goodbye, but it's time to leave. I look forward to serving the community in another way."
Nielsen said he decided to run for councilman more than 12 years ago while eating a sandwich at Boo Boo's Dawghouse but forgetting to tell his wife Dayna Nielsen, who had to learn of the move from the newspaper.
Nielsen decided last year that with changing duties at his full-time Illinois Farm Bureau job and a busy family, he wouldn't be able to continue in his role as councilman.
"Citizens of the town of Normal took a chance on this stupid ex-TV news reporter and I thank them for their trust and for sending me back a couple of times," Nielsen said.
He was also once a reporter for WJBC. Nielsen said he is most proud of working with the council and being a part of the decision-making group that built Uptown Normal.
"They like spending time down here and they like the changes, it's everything we envisioned it would be," Nielsen said.
Mayor Chris Koos said he knows Nielsen will still be active in the community.
"And I think you said the most true thing when you said 'We have accomplished a lot,'" Koos said. "There are times when we have not agreed and there were times when we have strongly not agreed (with each other), but at the end of the day, we're collegial and we're looking out for the best interest in the town of Normal."
Nielsen will serve at one more meeting this month before turning the seat over to someone new.
Also at Monday night's meeting, the council approved of a contract for water main work and members heard from an Illinois State University group that wanted to engage in civic discussion.